Grains end higher, livestock lower

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Corn futures closed higher on Monday. Futures moved to a two week high in early trading with gains inspired by technical buying and in sympathy with higher soybean values. Optimism over stronger U.S. corn export demand is helping boost prices although weekly export inspections came in near expectations at 15.9 million bushels. Also, reports that Ukraine may curb corn exports next spring added to the positive sentiment. December corn futures settled 1 3/4 cents higher at $7.46 3/4.

The soybean market began the new week extending the surprising rally of the past week. There was bullish news of another large soybean oil export sale. But fundamentals that drive soybean and meal markets are usually more important. Weekly soybean export inspections were much lower than expected. Weather conditions were generally favorable across most of the Brazilian soybean belt. Both were bearish. At the close, January was up 6 cents at $14.24 3/4. New-crop November added 11 1/4 cents to close at $12.96. January soybean oil gained 26 points to close at 49.58 cents. January meal was up $3.50 per ton at $426.90.

The Chicago and Minneapolis wheat markets on Monday clung to modest advances in the old crop at the close while the Kansas City market crawled forward to modest gains. The Chicago market has been in a gradual upward ascent over the past week, but netting only a few cents for the effort. Chicago has been basically tagging along with the Kansas City trade where production concerns are producing buying support. Chicago March wheat added 2 1/2 cents at $8.63 3/4. March Kansas City gained 6 1/4 cents at $9.01 3/4. The Minneapolis March contract gained 3 cents at $9.28.

Cattle were lower on Monday. After moving sharply higher last week, cattle futures turned lower today as traders focused on overbought conditions and concern that high prices might stem demand. Cash cattle prices were higher last week. Some light cash trade was reported in Texas on Monday at $128, steady with last week. Beef prices edged lower at midday which tended to reinforce demand concerns. February cattle closed 32 cents lower at $132.40.

Lean hog futures faded into the close and settled mostly lower. Prices held modest gains for much of the day but ended with December unchanged and contracts through next summer in the red. While the December contract settled unchanged at $82.48, at one point the contract hit $83 the highest since April 11. Traders appear to be waiting to see what happens with hog supplies and cash prices before moving the market. The June contract settled at $100.85, down 18 cents. Cash hog prices were mixed in the midday report.

December cotton futures closed higher on Monday. After plunging Friday following bullish export news, expectations were for follow-through weakness. Instead, the cotton market continued to confound traders by moving higher. Light deliveries against December futures were touted, but that was not unexpected. Cotton harvest moved to 89% complete, up 5 points from last week and above the five-year average at 85%. At the close, December cotton was 143 points higher at 71.26. March was 119 points higher at 72.62.

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